Charity honours coach of Special Olympics

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THE SUSSEX Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SASBAH) marked National Volunteers’ Week 2012 with presentations to the head coach at Special Olympics Eastbourne, Geoff Martindale, and assistant coach Jackie Dean.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual campaign marking the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It is promoted by Volunteering England.

Geoff Martindale, a local athletics coach, has been involved with Special Olympics Eastbourne since it started in 2002. He had been on a course to train people with learning disabilities, and had the opportunity to work with students from a local college.

Mr Martindale was so impressed with their enthusiasm he wanted to provide a training session for them in Eastbourne.

Special Olympics Eastbourne currently has 35 members and the group meets at the Sports Park every Thursday to train in track and field events.

During the year, the athletes enter competitions around the region, and nationally.

They compete against other athletes with a similar ability and everyone has the opportunity to put into practice what they have learnt in training. To achieve a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, each participant has to participate regularly and show improvement in four different sections, volunteering, physical, skills and expedition.

Rom Sanglaji, general manager at SASBAH, said, “A DofE Centre was set up at SASBAH in 2010. So far, 10 participants have chosen athletics at Special Olympics Eastbourne for the physical section of their DofE.

“They have been able to do so only because Geoff and other volunteers turn up every week throughout the year to give coaching and encouragement.”

On behalf of the DofE Centre at SASBAH, and all the athletes at Special Olympics, Rom presented a certificate of appreciation to Geoff Martindale for the inspiration and support he provides and assistant coach Jackie Dean.

SASBAH works with people in Sussex who have spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus to create and develop their best opportunities. To find out more visit www.sasbah.org.uk/